SRIGALA Blu ray cover
(aka WOLF)
(1981, Indonesia)
2 stars  
"A film full of suspense that will leave you breathless ..."
directed by: Sisworo Gautama Putra 
starring: Lydia Kandou, Rudy Salam, Barry Prima, Siska Widowati, Dorman Borisman, S. Parya, Mieke Wijaya, El Koesno, Ali Albar

choice dialogue:

"This means I'll have to kill you just like I did with all your friends!"

- Oh, Miss Hilda!

slash with panache?

[review by JA Kerswell]

SRIGALA (WOLF in English) is the notorious Indonesian rip-off of FRIDAY 13TH (1980). Released only a year later, it lifts whole scenes from Sean S. Cunningham's film whilst adding some wacky local spice to the action - including martial arts catfights, an insane speed boat chase and ghost zombies!

   SRIGALA (1981)
  Mrs Voorhees didn't drive a speedboat whilst wearing a balaclava in FRIDAY THE 13TH, so there is that.

The film eschews the summer camp of the original FRIDAY 13TH, but retains the lake setting. Instead of counsellors, we are introduced to three treasure hunters who are diving for valuables scattered at the bottom of the lake. Led by Caroko (S. Parya) and two younger guys - Johan (Rudy Salam) and Tom (Indonesian action film legend Barry Prima). Their efforts are interrupted by the arrival of three tourists, who are determined to set up camp by the lakeside: Nina (Lydia Kandou), Hesty (Siska Widowati) and their friend Pono (Dorman Borisman). Caroko tries to scare them away in case they rumble what they're up to; but Tom and Johan like the look of the two young women and they soon become friends and eventually romantically interwined.

However, it turns out that the holidaymakers aren't Caroko's main problem, when the trio are attacked by someone driving a speedboat wearing a balaclava disguise (presumably after getting back from watching PROM NIGHT (1980)!). FRIDAY 13TH didn't have a speedboat driving Mrs Voorhees throwing dynamite with gay abandon, so at least SRIGALA has that in the originality stakes.

During a violent rainstorm, Johan and Tom insist the others find shelter with them in the dilapidated log cabin where they're staying. However, there is someone else out in the woods waiting and watching. And soon, they start dying horribly one-by-one ...

   SRIGALA (1981)
  You need to stay away from windows in SRIGALA, too!

For the first half of the SRIGALA the horror and slasher elements take the backseat. Only a prologue with an unfortunate scuba diver being disembowelled by the shore clues us into the fact we're watching a horror film at all. However, the film really kicks into gear in the last half an hour as it becomes at times a literal shot-for-shot redux of FRIDAY 13TH. Normally I wouldn't spoil endings of movies, but given that this film emulates that film so much it shouldn't come as a big surprise that the killer is revealed towards the climax of the film without having been seen previously. The Mrs Voorhees clone - the rather unthreateningly sounding Miss Hilda (Mieke Wijaya) - isn't grieving a lost son, but is rather trying to protect the treasure in the lake she hid after killing her husband and sinking his body. A slight irony here is that the greed motive and lake setting are more reminiscent of Mario Bava's A BAY OF BLOOD (1971) - the film that Cunningham and FRIDAY THE 13TH writer Victor Miller have often been accused of ripping off. SRIGALA does have a couple of twists of its own, which I'll let you discover for yourself.

The film ends with a climactic battle in the cabin and on the lakeside between Miss Hilda and this film's Final Girl, which is even more awkwardly choreographed than that between Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King. SRIGALA is certainly not a dry film, but wouldn't give Tom Savini sleepless nights. Most of the kills are off screen or partially obscured - although the bloody aftermath is shown. Most disappointingly, Miss Hilda is offed with a stab to the stomach rather than a show-stopping losing her head in slo-mo. The film finishes in an almost identical way, where the Final Girl is pulled under the water from her canoe - but in this case by Miss Hilda's reanimated dead husband. Which I guess makes as much sense as the appearance of a young Jason Voorhees did! It even features a "Then he's still out there ... coda." Although this Final Girl was spared the Alice Hardy icepick to the skull, as there never was a SRIGALA 2.

   SRIGALA (1981)
  "Why I'm... I'm Miss Hilda, an old friend of the Christy's. ... Oh, wait. Wrong movie!"

There's fun to be had with the slavish way director Sisworo Gautama Putra imitates FRIDAY 13TH - especially if you're an uber fan of that movie. However, like many cover versions it lacks the oomph of the original. Where the film comes alive is through its eccentricities, like the seemingly mild disagreement over boys between Nina and Hesty that ends in an all out martial arts catfight. SRIGALA actually preempts some later slashers with the slapstick sidekick character of Pono (although this was something of a staple for many Asian horror flicks) - which even includes comedy sound effects when he receives a kick to the balls. The insane speedboat chase gives Barry Prima a chance to show off his action credentials - and that's not all he shows off in one of the skimpiest swimming trunks in cinema history!

Surprisingly, the film doesn't lift or even try to copy Harry Manfredini's iconic score for FRIDAY 13TH. Instead, it uses a few funk and country and western instrumentals, as well as a lot of what sounds like library audio. That's very possibly down to budgetary limitations rather than restraint on Putra's part, though. Putra continued making genre films up until the early 1990s, but his magpie nature was evident in his first - and most notorious - feature SAVAGE TERROR (1978). Also featuring Barry Prima (inexplicably credited as Berry in both films) his cannibal tale was inspired by the box office generated by similar movies from Ruggero Deodato and Umberto Lenzi - and like those films ended up on the British video nasties list.

SRIGALA is certainly not alone in gleefully ripping off North American movies (if you've seen any Bollywood slashers you'll know what I mean), but its shamelessness is almost charming. Although, ultimately - despite some enjoyable idiosyncrasies - it's still a pale imitation of the original Crystal Lake carnage.

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BODYCOUNT  9    bodycount!   female: 2 / male: 7

          1) Male gutted
         2) Male (dead body discovered)
         3) Female killed with a hatchet
         4) Male killed with car hood
         5) Male drowns after being attacked with a harpoon
         6) Male hit with truck
         7) Male found with pick axe to the chest
         8) Male has throat cut
         9) Female stabbed through chest